DEMAIN welcomes back author Lee Allen Howard to the Short Sharp Shocks! series with Book 54 – The Night Creatures. With a cover by Adrian Baldwin, the ebook is published on the 18th September but is currently available for pre-sales. Prior to publication, Dean and Lee spoke about it.
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Hi Lee! Great to have you back. So for those readers that haven’t yet caught your previous Short Sharp Shocks! The Elixir or aren’t yet aware of you/ your other work – can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer…
LEE ALLEN HOWARD: It’s great to be here. It seems like I’ve always had stories to tell. In second grade, I started writing tales full of skeletons, witches, and blood. I’ve not stopped.
DP: Your background then, what was it and has it influenced you?
LAH: I’m a preacher’s son raised in church. Themes of faith show up in my fiction, notably my short story ‘Mama Said’ and my second novel, The Sixth Seed.
DP: And your first introduction to the genre?
LAH: It was either James Herbert’s The Rats or Thomas Tryon’s The Other. I credit these two books with introducing me to horror and making me want to be a horror writer.
DP: Ah, The Rats – remember it well and a whole bunch of us at school reading it on the bus home one night ! – so your Short Sharp Shocks!?
LAH: The Night Creatures is about a husband who denies his wife a simple pleasure and ends up succumbing to her nightmares.
DP: We thought it was a cracking little tale so well done. Creatively Lee, what would be your biggest success to date?
LAH: My most popular novel is Death Perception, a story about a young man who runs the local crematorium. He discovers he can discern the cause of death of those he cremates by toasting marshmallows over their ashes. When what he discerns differs from what’s on the death certificate, however, he finds himself in the midst of murderers.
DP: We’ll have to check that out – sounds very intriguing. What books (or authors) do you read and do they have an influence?
LAH: I read a wide variety of horror. My favourites are the paperbacks from the 1970s and '80s. The author I’ve read most of is Donald Westlake, writing under the pen name Richard Stark (the Parker series). Love those crime stories.
DP: They’re great aren’t they? What does ‘horror’ conjure for you?
LAH: Horror is an emotion, whether that be dread, terror, fright, or shock. Writing that evokes these emotions with the intent to unsettle and scare can be rightfully classed as horror.
DP: With that in mind then, there have been numerous reports of late that the horror genre is dead, would you agree?
LAH: I disagree. I think horror is enjoying a comeback, both in fiction and especially the cinema.
DP: Almost done, is writing for you a long term or short term career?
LAH: I’ve been writing fiction all my life, albeit sporadically. But, alas, I must pay the bills. So I’ve been employed as a technical writer for the software industry since 1985.
DP: Yeap, we all need to pay the bills. It’s been a tough year and this year (for obvious reasons) has been tougher than most. Quite a lot of creatives are having to diversify and there’s nothing wrong with that. We need to pay bills. We need to have a roof over our head. We need to eat. We do what we’ve got to do for our families. Finally then Lee, what is something your readers might be surprised to find out about you?
LAH: As well as a master’s degree in fiction writing, I earned a master’s in biblical studies and was a pastor for three years.
Now those sermons I would love to have heard.
Thanks for your time Lee – all the best with The Night Creatures.
If you would like to connect with Lee direct: